Today is one of the best days in Washington in a long time, because it is the first full day in 34 years in which Harry Reid is not a member of Congress.
I try not to indulge in exaggeration or personal attacks on individuals. But Reid is unquestionably one of the worst “leaders” this country has had over the past third of a century, and he is personally responsible for much of the divisiveness, nastiness, dysfunction and truth-divorcing we have seen from Washington during this time.
Don’t believe me? Consider this partial list of “accomplishments” for Reid:
- His evidence-free attacks on both Mitt Romney and the Koch brothers as tax cheats lowered the bar for honesty and civil discourse well before the 2016 campaign began. He was either (most likely) lying or (less likely) disclosing confidential taxpayer information. Either would be despicable.
- What’s more, his constant harping on the Koch brothers as “un-American” election-buyers and basically the root of all evil in politics set yet another example for those who favor what another Democrat once called “the politics of personal destruction” over actual arguments.
- As Senate majority leader he took a sledgehammer to the Senate legislative process, by eschewing regular order for appropriations bills to ensure a permanent state of temporary budgets, denying the minority party the chance to amend bills through a maneuver known as “filling the tree,” and simply refusing to act on bills passed by the GOP-led House. This has directly contributed to the government shutdowns (and near-shutdowns) of recent years, even if Republicans tend to receive most of the blame. All that is on top of his pulling the “nuclear option” on the filibuster regarding presidential appointments (minus the Supreme Court), a move his fellow Democrats have come to regret now that a Republican is entering the White House.
- When citizens began experiencing the pitfalls of Obamacare, Reid did not apologize for ramming the bill through the Senate over GOP concerns about some of those very flaws (through a budgeting process known as reconciliation, another inventive use of Senate rules that Democrats are going to rue very, very soon). He called those citizens liars.
- Among the others Reid branded as liars because they disagreed with him: David Petraeus for saying the “surge” in Iraq was working (it was); and President George W. Bush and Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner William Magwood for supporting the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
I could go on, but you ought to get the point by now.
Politics still ain’t beanbag, and never will be, but neither is it supposed to be all scorched earth, all the time. Harry Reid engaged in politics as, to flip the Clausewitz aphorism around, war by other means. He won’t be missed.